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ICNND report: right goals, wrong pace for getting to zero

December 16, 2009

The International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) released its long-awaited final report on December 15 after more than a year of consultations and deliberations. The report contains some welcome, though familiar recommendations — especially on near-term disarmament measures such as substantial US-Russian reductions, delegitimizing nuclear weapons as part of security policy, and removing weapons from launch-on-warning status — but falls short on eliminating the nuclear threat.

The Commission advocates reducing current arsenals by around 90% by 2025. This would still leave 2,000 nuclear weapons in the world — far more than enough to cause a sudden global cooling from nuclear explosions over large cities, killing tens of millions of people and triggering  catastrophic famine.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) stated  that “the recommendations do not go far or fast enough towards getting the world to zero nuclear weapons.”

ICAN Australia Chair and IPPNW Board member Tilman Ruff said, “What is needed is a clear roadmap to eliminating and outlawing nuclear weapons. ICAN along with many other civil society organisations around the world advocates a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC), a comprehensive global treaty to get the world to zero nuclear weapons.

“While the Commission recognises the need for a NWC, it does not envisage one being negotiated until around 2025. This undermines the urgency of getting to zero.”

The report also heavily promotes nuclear power without sufficiently addressing dangerous proliferation risks. “Achieving and sustaining a world free of nuclear weapons,” Dr. Ruff added, “would be much easier and quicker in a world in which nuclear power was being phased out.”

The full ICNND report, a synopsis, and other materials can be found on the Commission website.

Non-governmental organizations, including IPPNW, have prepared an analysis of the report, in which they state:

Governments should take the report’s recommendations seriously, but aim to implement them ahead of the timetable outlined in the report.

“The biggest reason for our disappointment is that the report failed to draw a practical path to nuclear abolition as an urgent and achievable goal. The report aims for a “minimization point” by 2025, when there should be fewer than 2,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Beyond that, no process or timetable for moving to zero is presented. There is a risk that such an agenda might have the effect not of advancing the goal shared by the Commission of a world free of nuclear weapons, but of being used to perpetuate a world where fewer nuclear weapons are maintained indefinitely.”

One Comment
  1. December 17, 2009 7:57 am

    Reading of your hopes and disappointment at the slow movement towards nuclear disarmament, I can not help but want to suggest another view of the very stuck nuclear situation we are now in.

    For me, the blind spot in our knowledge of nuclear processes arises from the simple fact that our understanding of (and attitude towards) the particle world comes from an exclusively male way of looking there.
    Our nuclear projects are based on a diet of data provided by scientists, sometimes soldiers and occasionally traders.

    The moment we look into the Atomic World as civilians, as parents, as priests or mullahs, and more especially with women’s eyes and instincts – then an whole new picture and understanding of this smaller world begins to emerge.
    At about this point, the idea takes shape that we working in a landscape or dimension that is far more social and sentient than we have so far cared or dared to consider.

    This is not an easy insight for men to hear. But the potential for some kind of resolution to the impasse we are now in looks promising, if we could only step back and allow the feminine part of our profound intelligence to see and value the particle world.  

    I’ve created a blog and web site to elaborate on this whole concept: http://www.newnuclear.wordpress.com and http://www.catholicnuclear.com
    They same about the same thing, and I commend them to you for a new look at a stubborn old problem.

    Okay. Hope this stirs your interest.
    With good wishes.
    Ian Turnbull

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